Pros and cons of video surveillance

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uppladdat: 2012-06-06
Danny Lam

Danny Lam 25 år

High School : Tycho Braheskolan, College : Chalmers University of Technology, College : Chalmers University of Technology
Gnistan - Unga idéer om energi, HBTQ-studenter Göteborg - LGBTQ Students Gothenburg, Chalmersspexet Vera, Rekryt D/IT, Nätaktivisterna, Tofsen - Chalmers Kårtidning, Chalmers Studentkår, Jämlikhetskommittén JämK, Ericsson, TNKVRT, Mottagningskommittén - MK, NollKIT
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Imagine eyes that observing you wherever you go and ears that catch every slight noise you cause. Inhaling, exhaling, chitchatting, laughing and whispering… Those substances and objects will monitor your every move and document it into its database. If it appears that you are behaving anti-social, the object might even talk to you. There is no way to escape from this frightening scene, which for many sounds like something directly taken from a horror movie. Nonetheless, this is essentially what reality looks like in Britain and several of other countries. What is it I am referring to?

Those eyes and ears are better known as video surveillance; cameras that observe and record your acts in the public. The main reason and purpose with those cameras are preventing crimes to occur. There are a lot of debates going on in countries with surveillance cameras. Britain is the most surveilled industrialized state in the Western world, according to Will Byrne article “Orwell rolls in his grave: Britain’s endemic surveillance cameras talk back” (05/30/2007). The average Briton is captured by electronic eyes more than 300 times on a typical workday. Thus, many claim that the cameras are an infringement on civil liberties and against human rights.

The invasion of privacy is the most common argument against surveillance systems. Various people consider video surveillance in public areas more accepted than in hidden places. As C. Bartell mentions in (Arguments against Video Surveillance, 01/13/2010), mistrust, effectiveness and misuse are as well some of the arguments against the use of surveillance systems. Apart from these inconveniences, it also costs a lot to maintain surveillance cameras in every corner of the areas. Instead of wasting the revenue on cameras, it should be used more prudent e.g. more police officers.

However, there are also a lot of advantages concerning surveillance systems. The cameras could be both a deterrent, and a way for police to restrain criminals. Some people agree that it provides safety and helps give a sense of security in the area. The cameras might be a trustful witness to the police and security teams if an accident or a crime takes place.

Though I am a citizen myself living in a society where surveillance is common, I prefer the second point of view. I have been working with a lot of cameras during my time as a journalist and I know that every single detail it documents will be worth the effort in the end. I believe that cameras do assist against crimes. If you walk down the street and suddenly someone steal your purse and you did not have the time to see who it was, wouldn’t it be great if you know that the cameras will capture a glimpse of the offender’s face? But then I again, I would probably get upset if the society misuse the information they have been gathered from me and uploaded it on the media without my permission. The possibility of t...

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Article: "Orwell rolls in his grave: Britain’s endemic surveillance cameras talk back” (p. 05/30/2007) by Will Byrne "Arguments against Video Surveillance" (p. 01/13/2010) by C. Bartell

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